Area man charged in bear shooting
PITKIN COUNTY A resident of Lazy Glen Mobile Home Park was ticketed Friday by the Colorado Division of Wildlife for allegedly shooting and killing a black bear yearling May 19, according to an agency spokesman.Keith Peiffer, 54, of space 91 in Lazy Glen, was charged with “unlawful take of a black bear,” said Randy Hampton, DOW spokesman.The yearling entered Peiffer’s house and was chased outside, wildlife officers previously said. The bear was shot outside on the lawn at about 2:30 p.m., according to Hampton.Neighbors reported gunshots to emergency police dispatchers and Pitkin County deputy sheriffs responded, then called wildlife officers to the scene. “Mr. Peiffer did not notify us,” said Hampton.A .22-caliber rifle was confiscated from Peiffer, although Hampton was uncertain if that was the weapon used to shoot the bear. He said the bear was hit twice.Kevin Wright, a longtime wildlife manager in the Roaring Fork Valley, headed the investigation and consulted with Deputy District Attorney Matt Walker on the case last week.Hampton said the charge was pursued because the bear yearling didn’t pose a threat. The yearling, which weighed between 40 and 50 pounds, was on a lawn, not in a house or on a patio, when it was shot and killed, Hampton said.”The animal didn’t pose a threat to a person as defined [in state statutes],” he said.Walker said his office concluded the circumstances of the case warranted the charge. He declined to discuss details.Peiffer was ordered to appear in Pitkin County Court on July 17. If he is found guilty, he could be assessed a fine of $1,000 and a surcharge of $370. In addition, 15 points could be taken from his hunting and fishing privileges, if he holds licenses. It takes 20 points before a license can be suspended.An Aspen Times reporter visited trailer 91 at Lazy Glen but was unable to find Peiffer last week. A message seeking comment on the case was not returned.Snowmass Village defense attorney Arnold Mordkin said he had talked to Peiffer, who he has represented in the past, about the bear incident. Mordkin said he hasn’t been hired to defend Peiffer, but that might change.”As is always the case, there is more to these issues than originally reported by authorities,” Mordkin said.Hampton noted that wildlife officers had been called to Lazy Glen, about three miles east of Basalt, earlier this spring because of encounters with bears. An adult and two yearlings had been rummaging around the mobile home park. Wright previously said he responded to the bear calls and found that several residents weren’t complying with Pitkin County’s bear ordinance. Garbage was overflowing containers, in violation of regulations that require trash to be secured.The day before the bear was shot at Lazy Glen, Wright vented frustration at ongoing violations of the bear ordinances in Aspen and Pitkin County, and he questioned whether elected officials were giving their staffs adequate resources to enforce the regulations.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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